Earlier this month, the Baltimore R & B quartet announced that it was reuniting on a hometown radio station–only to reveal that the reunion was off about 10 minutes later, thanks to member Woody Rock suddenly realizing mid-announcement that he’d been “called by God on an assignment” that didn’t involve singing slow jams alongside Sisqo. (Footage of the abortive reunion is above, in case you didn’t see it the first time around.) Last night at a club in Baltimore, the three remaining members held an open audition for a replacement, and Idolator’s own Al Shipley was there in service of the Baltimore City Paper. And the story has a happy ending! Well, for now at least.
At first it appeared that there were only about a dozen hopefuls, but every time it looked like the competition was closed up, Nokio would rush over to offer one more guy a chance to compete. The contestants were referred to mainly by number, so we didn’t catch many names, but contestant No. 5, the one who made a big impression with “Lately” early in the night, was referred to as Tayo (although we may not be spelling that right). Most of the auditioning singers showed a familiarity with Dru Hill’s style, singing one of its early hits or something similar from that era. But contestant No. 19, a teenage kid with dreadlocks, was the only one to dare sing something current, taking on Justin Timberlake’s “Until the End of Time,” and it was hard to picture him fitting in with the group’s style.
After an intermission, Dru Hill brought up four finalists to sing with the group. The tie-breaking measure was to have the contestant harmonize with the group and hit a high note on the bridge to the group’s 1996 debut single, “Tell Me.” The first three finalists all did a capable job with the challenge, but it was clear they were saving the best for last when Tayo got his chance, and once again completely demolished the competition. After a brief vote by applause, Tayo was crowned the winner, and Woody Rock even handed over a pair of his sunglasses as a way of passing the torch. Sisqó indicated that Tayo is someone he’d already been acquainted with, which bodes well for the newcomer’s integration into Dru Hill’s established group dynamic.
Given the incident of a few weeks back, one also hopes that communication skills will be slightly better, too.
Dru Hill Announce Their Newest Member at a Live Audition [Baltimore City Paper]
Earlier: Dru Hill Set Record For Shortest Reunion In History